Passing Gas? Relax, It’s Normal…

passing-gasFess up. You pass gas. Everyone farts. Some people are (obnoxious) world class farters and don’t care where they are when they let it rip or how badly their flatulence stinks. They cut loose with abandon, treating us all to a noxious experience. Lovely. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Some could and should refrain from this gross noxious display but don’t choose to while others can’t help passing gas. When someone suffers from uncontrollable farting, as did Adolf Hitler, this is called meteorism.

L.B.: My husband is really rotten inside no matter what he eats. If we’re in a store and he comes blowing past me, he will whisper to me that he’s crop dusting and I know to evacuate the area. As soon as he gets in bed, it’s gas mask time. It never fails.

The older you get, the more gas you’re going to have and the less ability to hold it in and not, oops, cut one at your granddaughter’s wedding.

B.A.: I really never farted until I reached 50. Truly. My daughter and I always made a big ordeal when I did fart, applause, bowing, etc. Then all of a sudden, wham! Now every step I take a fart is watching me. I’m always warning people who are behind me. I just let ‘em rip.

According to the National Health Service, United Kingdom, the average person ‘breaks wind’ approximately 15 times daily. When we eat, we swallow small amounts of air which collects, creating gas that consists primarily of oxygen and nitrogen. As gas accumulates, the body wants to get rid of it which it achieves either through belching or passing gas.

G.P.R.: I find it very rude to expel the aroma to others. I think it can be controlled regardless of age. I am not a fan of farts!

Gas is normal but it can become extreme if something is going awry in the intestinal tract. Those with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic mesenteric ischemia and giardia infection suffer from intestinal malabsorption and may have chronic flatulence as a result.

B.E.A.: Seriously this can be a real problem. There are medical conditions in which flatulence cannot be controlled. The expulsion of gas in the form of either a burp or a fart can actually become socially isolating because of the embarrassment. As we age, some muscle tone is naturally lost and that includes the sphincters, the little round muscles that opens and closes things like entrance to the bladder and rectum. The digestive system in older people changes, starts to slow down, so gas is more likely to build up in the intestines. Certain serious medical problems also create uncontrollable flatulence. It can happen at any age.

Fixable Factors

Flatulence caused by ‘fixable’ factors such as lactose intolerance can be remedied. Once lactose-containing dairy items are excluded from the diet the person may be less gassy. There are those individuals who cannot tolerate fruit (fructose intolerance) so they must avoid fruit.

Older people are often on a variety of medications and this leads to gas. Narcotics, pain relievers, antibiotics and blood pressure medicine can all lead to flatulence.

H.A.T.: I remember hearing my mother-in-law sputtering across the floor. We all laughed about it but it truly isn’t funny when it’s you and you can’t help it. Sneeze and you don’t know if you’re going to have gas or pee. Coughing is the same and sometimes laughing. It sucks getting old. This is a conversation to carry on at the next class reunion.

Most of us learned early on that cruciferous vegetables, as much as we may love them, can blow us up in no time flat and clear out a room in an instant. Those vegetables include cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, beans, onions, potatoes, whole grains and wheat.

I don’t think this writer’s husband will ever forgive our oldest son for a stunt he pulled, 29 years ago. My husband and our then five-year-old son were standing in a very long line, in 90 degree weather, at King’s Island.

The husband reports someone passed gas and “It was the most awful smell. It smelled like road kill.”

The five-year-old son turned, looked up at his dad and said, “Dad, why did you do that?”

Everybody turned and stared daggers at ‘dad.’

“Only two people there knew I was innocent: Me and the guy who was guilty. I didn’t even get a jury trial.”

‘Dad’ still gets pissed off thinking about this, 29 years after the fact.

What Can You Do About It?

Because the digestive system slows down over time, drinking more water and eating fiber-rich foods may prevent constipation and gas, although fiber sometimes backfires and makes a person even gassier.
Some people find relief by taking daily probiotics, which are the good bacteria typically found in the colon. Probiotics are live yeasts and bacteria benefitting the body, particularly the digestive system. They work by lessening the bad bacteria in the gut causing inflammation and infections. When a person takes antibiotics this destroys the good bacteria. Probiotics replace the good bacteria that was lost.

Probiotics are found in soy drinks, sauerkraut, pickles, buttermilk, some soft cheeses, fermented and unfermented milk, yogurt and some juices. Dietary probiotic supplements are also available. Discuss probiotics with your physician before proceeding. Some individuals have allergic reactions to probiotics or may experience diarrhea, stomach upset and even more flatulence when initially taking them.

L.C.: Just want to be the first to say: Pull my finger.

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About This Blogger

Cindi Pearce

Cindi Pearce has been writing professionally since the days of manual typewriters. Armed with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio University, Cindi is especially interested in women’s health concerns. She teaches yoga, is an amateur belly dancer, loves mowing her five acres of land with her beloved zero turn mower, has three grown children, one granddaughter and five large dogs. Cindi has managed to stay married to the same man for 35 years.

One Comment on ““Passing Gas? Relax, It’s Normal…”

  1. Pat Mertz

    Loved it. Touching the subjects that others don’t touch is one of the things that keeps me looking forward to Cindi’s articles. This one is also very good with the twist of a comedian.

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